Updated treatment for influenza A and B.Am Fam Physician. 2000 Dec 01; 62(11):2467-76.AF
Influenza causes significant morbidity and mortality and is responsible for considerable medical expenditures. Vaccination is the most effective public health measure to combat this illness. Amantadine and rimantadine are older antiviral agents that have been important adjuncts in the prevention and treatment of influenza A outbreaks. Zanamivir and oseltamivir are newer agents indicated for the treatment of both influenza A and B. For antiviral agents to be effective, they must be used within 48 hours of the onset of influenza symptoms. Antiviral agents reduce the duration of fever and illness by one to two and one-half days and also reduce the severity of some symptoms. Use of amantadine or rimantadine is appropriate if influenza virus A is known to be the predominant agent in a particular year or location. Data need to be evaluated on the development of resistance and use of the newer antiviral agents in geriatric patients, high-risk patients and children. For optimal use of antiviral agents, patients with influenza symptoms must present early, and family physicians must accurately and rapidly diagnose the illness.